I was a horrible writer as a child. “Dreadful” would not be too strong an adjective to describe my early works of fiction. Ten to fifteen page debacles that basically amounted to elementary regurgitations of movies I had just seen or books I had just read, I churned them out with ease and with a pride that only a child can maintain. My parents (bless their hearts) read these atrocious short stories bordering on plagiarism as vigorously as I churned them out and they offered me nothing but praise. They were bold-faced liars, of course, but perhaps not completely – perhaps they understood then what I understand now: the power of storytelling.
I may have not been Hemingway but I was still a storyteller; a bad one, but a storyteller nonetheless. And as time went on the storytelling would improve, the creativity would thrive, and I would become my own writer instead of a cheap imitation of C.S. Lewis or John Grisham. But the quality of the writing is not important. I believe the importance of storytelling is the imagination it stimulates and the strength that imagination holds. Many failed writers do not realize the power they hold at their finger tips; the power to create an entirely new world, a world that they can visit any time they please. There is no limit, and that is something that cannot be said for most of life.
Life is full of rules and regulations and ordinances. There is a right and there is a wrong. There is a black and a white, and there is no disputing that up is up and down is down. There are no rules in fiction. Or rather, there are no set standards under which every writer must operate. Up can turn to down, right can be deliciously wrong, and black can most certainly be white. We as writers are free to explore all possibilities and the impossible. We are free to explore the likelihoods and the improbable.
Writing is often compared to magic, so much so that it has become a bit of a cliché. But the cliché holds true. I believe every person should write, no matter how intelligent, no matter how clever, no matter the strength of the vocabulary. The power of writing is not in pleasing the snobs who scoff at J.K. Rowling’s success or call Stephen King’s works pornographic trash. The power of storytelling is not in the ability to churn out two-thousand page manuscripts filled with more twenty-syllable words than Webster’s Dictionary. The power of storytelling is in harnessing your imagination, strengthening your creativity, and creating new worlds with enticing possibilities.
We all have the ability to create our own Neverland, and there is nothing greater in the world than that power.
This I believe.
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